Editorial: High Time to Address Problem of Flooding
It’s time for a serious effort to fix Jakarta’s problems after they have been neglected by successive administrations. While torrential rains are pouring down at the moment, let’s start with flooding, the biggest annual challenge every governor has so far failed to deal with.
Heavy rains across the Greater Jakarta area, which lasted well into Monday evening, inundated at least 2,600 homes across the capital, resulting in electricity blackouts and massive traffic jams. And the rainy season has not even peaked yet.
Flooding in Jakarta has caused massive losses and claimed lives while destroying businesses and causing heavy gridlock along the city’s main streets.
The root causes are obvious: the drainage system and inconsistent spatial planning. So the solution is abundantly clear: develop a better drainage system and create more water catchment areas while removing buildings violating spatial planning rules.
It’s time for Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama to overhaul the whole drainage system, because in the past due to corruption, it was built way below standard. Then-governor Joko Widodo, now the president, was surprised to find that the gutters were only 10 centimeter wide, far smaller that the two meters reported by his officials, when he inspected one on a main street. So most of the flooding is due to gutters that are too small to channel all the water.
Basuki should also consider the deep tunnel system, once proposed by Joko.
At the same time, it’s imperative that more parks and water catchment areas are built so rainwater can be absorbed into the ground, easing the burden on the drainage system. Basuki should further be consistent with spatial planning in the city and penalize those building in forbidden zones.
Of course, we, the residents of Jakarta, must play our part too, for instance by not littering, or throwing our garbage into the rivers and drains.
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Source: The Jakarta Globe